NYPD officer Artur Kasprzak, 28. (NYPD)
An off-duty New York City police officer died in his own basement after saving seven members of his family from rising floodwaters. Officer Artur Kasprzak, who died on Monday, was 28 and had been on the NYPD for six years. Now, more details of Kasprzak's heroic actions are coming to light.
CBS New York reports that on Monday, with water pouring into his Staten Island home, Kasprzak helped move six adults and his 15-month-old nephew into his home's attic. He then went back down to the basement to look for his father. Unknown to Kasprzak, his father had already exited the house and was on his way up to the attic via a different path. Kasprzak never returned.
A family member he rescued called 911 to report him missing. A team of rescuers arrived but was unable to search the basement due to downed power lines. When it was deemed safe to search, around 11 hours later, Kasprzak's body was discovered by authorities.
In an interview with NPR, Kasprzak's sister said he loved his job. "He's always ready. Sometimes he didn't sleep, or he slept just a few hours. Every time they called him, he was there. You know, he's very devoted. We will miss him so much." Family friend Krystina Nawrot called him "a hero to the last minute, to the last second."
The NYPD released a statement after Kasprzak's death.
Officer Kasrpzak was assigned to the 1st Precinct in Manhattan and served the City of New York for six years as a police officer. Previously, he served the Department for one year as an NYPD Cadet, and had been assigned to the 122 Pct. Detective Squad.
We offer condolences and prayers for Police Officer Kasprzak's family and all those who are suffering losses as a result of the storm, and extended deep appreciation for those working selflessly to help others. They and Artur will never be forgotten.
The death toll for superstorm Sandy is currently at least 75.